I run, although not fast. At least I try to run three times a week. I run for few reasons, mostly to preserve my sanity by warding off depressions and lifting my mood.
But I never thought running could actually restore my faith in humanity.
From time to time I join run races, mostly because of friends’ insistence (in other words, peer pressure). Partly this was the reason why I ran in Jakarta Marathon, held today on October 27th, 2013. The other part was because I wanted to accompany and support two friends who had never joined a race before —this was why I took 5K.
I expected very little. I was not daunted by the distance, as 5K is my “regular portion” of running. Neither did I expect that the race would be organised well, so I was pleasantly surprised when they started on time.
Prior to this race, I was involved in a project that was mentally exhausting to me. I had to deal with people whose ethical judgements made me cringe: people who believed the end justifies the means, the same people who dismiss my questions or objections with, “Well, this is politics.”
These people made me either even more cynical or sanctimonious; either way it sucked the belief about the goodness of Man away from me. And it tired the hell out of me.
Then this morning I chanced upon two stories.
This was the first one.
I didn’t know there was this program, where few runners accompanied and ran side-by-side with blind persons for 10K. I was about to leave the race when I inadvertently saw this couple. My heart melted.
The second one, I didn’t see it with my own two eyes. I learned about this story from a good friend, Luthfi. It is a story about a woman who insisted to run 10K on her wheelchair. Her name is Ibu Anna.
Ibu Anna is in the process of fighting a serious disease. She wanted to join the 10K race, but the race organiser initially refused her. This was the first Jakarta Marathon event, and they did not feel confident they could be responsible for her safety.
Luthfi learned about this, and she pledged to the organiser that she would take full responsibility. She promised she would run side-by-side with Ibu Anna throughout the race.
And chaperoned her, she did. She never let Ibu Anna out of her sight, but allowed her to finish her own race, to finish strong. 10 km in 1 hour 50 minutes.
Most people in Jakarta Marathon finished strong. Few of them finished noble.
I went with very little expectations to Jakarta Marathon. I came back, my faith to humanity restored.